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Sermon Central Staff
A MOTHER'S MARRED HANDS
There was a teenager who didnít want to be seen in public with her mother, because her motherís arms were terribly disfigured. One day when her mother took her shopping and reached out her hand, a clerk looked horrified. Later, crying, the girl told her how embarrassed she was.
Understandably hurt, the mother waited an hour before going to her daughterís room to tell her, for the first time, what happened.
"When you were a baby, I woke up to a burning house. Your room was an inferno. Flames were everywhere. I could have gotten out the front door, but I decided Iíd rather die with you than leave you to die alone. I ran through the fire and wrapped my arms around you. Then I went back through the flames, my arms on fire. When I got outside on the lawn, the pain was agonizing but when I looked at you, all I could do was rejoice that the flames hadnít touched you."
Stunned, the girl looked at her mother through new eyes. Weeping in shame and gratitude, she kissed her motherís marred hands and arms.
(Source: Randy Alcorn. From a sermon by Billy Ricks, Suffering, 2/27/2011)
Sermon Central Staff
VACANT HOMES, VACANT LIVES
TIFTON, GA ó The most interesting thing about Tifton is an abandoned Victorian house filled with thousands of bats. Tift County declared the once-elegant house in the townís historic district off limits after a bat specialist said that maybe 20,000 bats had moved in, apparently for good.
Now, teenagers call it the bat house. People talk about the smell, which is an unholy mix of animal urine and decaying wood. "In the summer, ooh, does that place reek," said Linda Turner, 69, a retired nurse and neighbor. "You ainít smelled nothing until you come back here on a hot day."
Brothers and Sisters, Iím not going to visit that bat house. WHAT A SIGHT AND WHAT A STINK IT MUST BE! Vacant houses get infiltrated with all kinds of creatures and probably not just bats. And many of these creatures make a mess, create a big stink, and eventually ruin that dwelling.
But it doesnít just happen with vacant houses, it also happens with vacant lives! If a person doesnít fill their life with good stuff, the bad stuff and sometimes, the evil stuff will move in and take over.
Whatís going on in your house? That is, the house you live in, the fleshly body you live in? Who has moved in? Who has taken over your residence and controlling your life? God wants us to stay clean in this world and that will only happen when we let Him move in, that is, when we fill our lives with worship, prayer and service.
Thy word have I hide in my heart that I might not sin against thee! Ps. 119:11. The Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Bible!
(From a sermon by Steve Shepherd, Our Walk in This World, 4/4/2011)
ILL. Let me read a part of the list that several housewives compiled. They wrote that they were especially thankful:
"For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after-dinner snacks.
"For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.
"For children who put away their things & clean up after themselves. Theyíre such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents
"For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.
"For Smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkeyís done.
APPL. Now our list might not be the same as theirs, but Iím convinced that if we began to make a list, we would find that we have much more for which to be thankful than just our material possessions.
Years ago in Germany, there was a young Jewish boy who had a profound sense of admiration for his father. His familyís life centered on the acts of piety and devotion prescribed by their religion. The father was zealous in attending worship and religious instruction, and he demanded the same from his children. While the boy was a teenager, the family was forced to move to another town in Germany. There was no synagogue in the new town, and the pillars of the community all belonged to the Lutheran church. Suddenly the father announced to the family that they were going to abandon their Jewish traditions and join the Lutheran church. When the stunned family asked why, the father explained that changing religions was necessary to help his business.
The youngster was bewildered and confused. His deep disappointment soon gave way to anger and a kind of intense bitterness that plagued him throughout his life. That disappointed son, disillusioned by his fatherís lack of integrity, eventually left Germany and went to England to study. He sat daily at the British Museum, formulating various ideas and writing a book. In that work, he introduced an entirely new world-view, envisioning a movement that would change the social and political systems of the world. Drawing from past experiences with his father, he described religion as an ďopiate for the massesĒ that...
Wade Hughes, Sr
Many years ago, I failed the Lord in a stupid teenager deed.
I can painfully remember January the 1st, 1968.
I was raised in the parsonage,
I was 16 years old, I knew right from wrong.
But I failed the Lord!
1/1/68 was always a painful memory of my stupid
Before the sun went down Jan. 1, 1968 I begged God
to forgive me for breaking the very heart of God.
On Jan. 2nd, I begged God for His forgiveness.
On Jan. 3rd I begged God for His forgiveness.
And this continued for many years as the enemy oft
reminded me of my failure.
In 1970 I started college and moved to Tennessee
for my education.
One day as I was driving to class my enemy
rightfully accused me of my failure.
And I again asked the Lord to forgive me.
In 1973 I had been to classes, my junior year,
and driving home I remembered Jan. 1, 1968
and the enemy laughed at me for my failure.
I went to my apartment where Linda and I lived and
laid on the couch.
I know not that I was awake or asleep,
but as I lay there remembering my failures of
Jan. 1, 1968,
Jesus appeared right in front of me.
And I immediately cried and told him I was so sorry
for breaking his heart on Jan 1, 1968.
He said, Hum, Hum, as he stroked his beard, and he
reached for the book of my life.
I could see the tops of the pages,
I could see the headings : 1961, 1962..etc.
As he neared the end of 1967 my heart was broken
because I knew that he was getting close to a
terrible page in my life.
Finally, Jesus turned to the page for which I had
He took his right hand and stroked his beard several
times and said, Hum!
I then had a fear come over me.
I looked in His eyes and I wondered,
I reached over and I touched the book and I pulled
it down where I could see the whole page of
Jan. 1, 1968 and to my surprise it was totally
WHITE! Snow white!
There was not one blot of dirt or anything on that
I said to Jesus, "I very clearly remember
Jan. 1, 1968.
To which He replied to me,
"Son, you asked forgiveness for that on that
evening and I took my blood and
I washed your black sin and made it white as snow
and removed it as far as the East is from the West.
As far as I am concerned, you have been justified by
the blood of the lanb.
I will never remember or recall any of the deeds of
your life that is under the blood."
Before Jesus left, I said,
"Jesus, I have one question to ask you.
If you have removed this from my past, and it is
very apparent that you have,
why did you not remove this painful day of Jan. 1,
1968 from my mind, my memory hurts me so bad?"
Jesus looked over his shoulder and said,
"Son, while I have forgave you and forgotten your
sin, if I removed this painful memory out of your
mind, you would again fall into the same trap.
I love you so much that I have forgiven you, but I
leave this scar to remind you that you need to live
your life pleasing to me."
With that, He said, "I love you and was gone."
A young preacher heard about a sudden and tragic death of a teenager in a car accident. He rushed to the home of the parents only to find them standing in the front yard next to their car. They had just arrived home from the hospital.
He didnít know what to say so he said nothing. They hugged and cried together. After an hour he leftÖ never uttering a word.
He felt he had failed until several weeks later he received a card from the couple thanking him for the comfort he gave them that day. They thanked him for not saying anything but for just being there and sharing their grief.
Teen sexual activity declining
According to a July 28 CNSNews.com story by Rick Docksai, sexual activity among teenagers is now on the decline, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their findings were compiled in the 2001 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) report, a national report of the general health status of Americaís youth. The study also found increased use of contraceptives and a reduced rate of unwanted pregnancies.
According to the report, the total number of high school students who claimed to have had sex in their lifetime was 44.6 percent. This is a nearly ten percent drop from the results of the 1990 YRBSS, in which 54.3 percent of high school students claimed to have had sex. For the first time in over twenty years, high school students who choose to remain virgins are no longer in the minority.
PreachingNow Newsletter, August 6, 2002.
STEWARD OF THE LIGHT
In the nineteenth century, lighthouses on the U.S. coasts were tended by lighthouse keepers and their families. If a man who tended the light took ill or became disabled, often the work was picked up by his wife or children. Such was the case of Hosea Lewis.
Having become, in 1853, the keeper of the light on Lime Rock Island at Newport, Rhode Island, Lewis suffered a stroke four years later, at which time his teenage daughter Ida assumed responsibility for the light. Each day included cleaning the reflectors, trimming the wick, and filling the oil reservoir at sunset and midnight, along with providing for her fatherís care.
With long and demanding tasks, Ida was unable to continue her schooling, but daily delivered her siblings to class, whatever the weather, by rowing the 500 yards to the mainland. In the mid-1800s, it was unusual to see a woman maneuvering a boat, but Ida became well-skilled and well-known for handling the heavy craft.
The teenager gained a measure of fame at age sixteen when she rescued four young men after their boat capsized. She rowed to their aid, hearing their screams as they clung to their overturned craft. On March 29, 1869, Ida saved two drowning servicemen from nearby Fort Adams. Public knowledge of Idaís courage spread as far as Washington, inspiring President Ulysses S. Grant to visit Ida at Newport later that year. Ida rescued another two soldiers in 1881, for which she was awarded the U.S. Lifesaving Serviceís highest medal.
In early February of that year the two soldiers were crossing from Newport to Lime Rock Island on foot when the ice gave way. Ida, the lighthouse keeper, came running with a rope. Ignoring peril to herself from weak and rotten ice, she pulled one, then the other to safety. All told, Ida Lewis persona...
ILL: Ask: What is Faith through Experience?
A vocational school teacher taught a class of mentally impaired teenagers. Looking at his studentsí capabilities rather than their limitations, he got them to play chess, restore furniture and repair electrical appliances.
Most important, he taught them to have faith in themselves.
One of the students named Bobby soon proved how well he had learned that last lesson.
One day he brought in a broken toaster to repair.
He carried the toaster tucked under one arm, and a half-loaf of bread under the other.
Now thatís faith - built on experience.
(modified) Original from Edna Butterfield.
& we tryÖ.
A pilot always looked down intently on a certain valley in the Appalachians. "Whatís so interesting about that spot?" Asked a fellow pilot. "See that stream? Well, when I was a kid I used to sit down there on a log and fish. Every time an airplane flew over, I would look up and wish I were flying... Now I look down and wish I were fishing."
That is pretty well the way it is, isnít it? - sometimes even though we do get what we want - we still canít be satisfied. Everyone wants more. A little child wants more toys and more TV time; A Teenager wants more clothes, more freedom, more popularity. Most adults want more also; a nicer house, a newer car a better job, more prestige.....
And often we do get more Ė we get a new car and we are content..... for awhile. We buy a new home - itís the home of our dreams and we are content.....for awhile. The job we always wanted comes knocking at our door - great pay, incredible benefits - and we are content.....for awhile. One of Godís prophets wrote the following words to Godís people about 2,500 years ago; (they were on the screen just a moment ago)....
"You have planted much but have harvested little. You eat, but you do not become full. You drink, but you are still thirsty. You put on clothes but you are not warm enough. You earn money, but then you lose it all as if you had put it into a purse full of holes...You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little."
- Haggai 1:2-6